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Lowy Institute Papers





Lowy Institute Papers
These are the flagship publications of the Institute. These are monograph length, policy-oriented papers on international policy issues containing extensive original research. They are peer-reviewed and closely edited.

Northeast Asia's Turbulent Triangle: Korea-China-Japan Relations, January 2014

Talib or Taliban? Indonesian Students in Pakistan and Yemen, September 2011
Anthony Bubalo, Dr Sarah Phillips, Samina Yasmeen

In 'Talib or Taliban? Indonesian students in Pakistan and Yemen', the Lowy Institute, in collaboration with the Centre for International Security Studies at Sydney University and the Centre for Muslim States and Societies at the University of Western Australia, looks at whether Indonesian students studying at Islamic institutions in Pakistan and Yemen pose a risk in terms of future patterns of extremism in Indonesia.

Courting Reform: Indonesia's Islamic Courts and Justice for the Poor, December 2010
Tim Lindsey Cate Sumner

Western perceptions of Islam in Indonesia are often dominated by images of radical minorities seeking a shari’ah state. In reality, however, mainstream Islamic institutions have played an important part in the post-Soeharto process of democratisation and institutional reform. Among them are Indonesia’s Islamic courts, the Pengadilan Agama or Religious Courts.

In a ground-breaking new Lowy Institute Paper, 'Courting reform: Indonesia’s Islamic courts and justice for the poor', Cate Sumner and Tim Lindsey explore how the Islamic courts have embraced reform within a judicial system notorious for corruption and incompetence, taking the lead in efforts to deliver decisions that are more accessible, transparent and fair, especially for women and the poor.

Confronting Ghosts: Thailand's Shapeless Southern Insurgency, April 2010
Dr Joseph Chinyong Liow, Don Pathan

In this Lowy Institute Paper, Joseph Chinyong Liow and Don Pathan examine the ongoing violence in the majority Muslim Malay provinces of Thailand’s south. Through unprecedented fieldwork, the authors provide the deepest and most up-to-date analysis of the insurgency and problems the Thai Government faces in dealing with it.

Joseph Chinyong Liow is the Associate Dean at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and Don Pathan is a senior reporter at The Nation newspaper in Bangkok.

The Mekong: river under threat, November 2009
Dr Milton Osborn

In this new Lowy Institute Paper, our Visiting Fellow, Dr Milton Osborne, evaluates the potentially huge social and environmental risks for the Mekong River and the millions who depend on it for their livelihood of planned dam projects in Laos and Cambodia. The mighty Mekong River is one of the key areas globally for the contest between economic development and social and environmental sustainability and for effective political cooperation between the states of mainland Southeast Asia themselves. In both cases the challenge is not being met.

China and the global environment: learning from the past, anticipating the future, November 2009
Dr Katherine Morton

China and the global environment: learning from the past, anticipating the future
China's environmental problems are now at the forefront of domestic and international concern. In this new Lowy Institute Paper, 'China and the global environment: learning from the past, anticipating the future', Dr Katherine Morton examines the potential for China's system of environmental governance to respond effectively to the crises, both within and beyond territorial boundaries. .

Confronting the Hydra: Big Problems with Small Wars, November 2009
Lieutenant Colonel Mark O'Neill

Australia's current role in Afghanistan is the latest experience in a long history of involvement in counterinsurgency conflicts or ‘small wars’. Such commitments may begin as wars of choice, but history suggests they can turn into wars of necessity, and their costs and political impact can be large. In this Lowy Institute Paper, Mark O’Neill charts the enduring nature of Australia’s problems with such wars. He concludes that, as a democratic middle power that chooses to wage counterinsurgency conflicts, Australia needs improved strategic policy approaches and capabilities to overcome a complex and many-headed threat.

A Focused Force: Australia's Defence Priorities in the Asian Century, April 2009
Professor Hugh White

In this new Lowy Institute Paper, Visiting Fellow Hugh White calls for Australia to abandon the 'Balanced Force' concept and refocus its military on managing strategic risks related to the rise of China. Professor White argues that Chinese power will challenge US primacy, undercutting the basic assumptions of Australian defence policy. He poses questions about the risks Australia faces over coming decades, how armed force can help manage those risks, whether current forces are up to the job, and whether the country can afford forces that are. This paper, with its controversial force-structure recommendations, is a major contribution to the Australian security debate on the eve of the 2009 Defence White Paper.

Zealous Democrats: Islamism and Democracy in Egypt, Indonesia and Turkey, October 2008
Anthony Bubalo, Greg Fealy, Whit Mason

The question is often asked 'What will Islamists do to democracy?' But it seems equally valid to ask 'What might democracy do to Islamists?' In this new Lowy Institute Paper Anthony Bubalo, Greg Fealy and Whit Mason examine how three different Islamist movements, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Prosperous Justice Party in Indonesia and the Justice and Development Party have sought to adapt to democratic politics and how in turn electoral or democratic participation has shaped the evolution of their ideology, policies and activism.

Into Africa: How The Resource Boom Is Making Sub-Saharan Africa More Important To Australia, August 2008
Roger Donnelly and Benjamin Ford

The international resource boom has spurred a hunt for new mineral and hydrocarbon reserves, and an important new frontier in this search is Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Australian resource companies are now spending tens of billions of dollars on exploration and development, and engineering and service companies are clinching billions of dollars of contracts, across SSA. In a new Lowy Institute Paper, Roger Donnelly and Benjamin Ford describe how Africa now matters much more to corporate Australia, assess the drivers and dimensions of the SSA resource boom, and examine some of the implications for Australian companies and Australian public policy.

The Emerging Global Order, March 2008
Dr Russell Trood

This Lowy Institute Paper by Senator Russell Trood explores the shifting foundations of the emerging global order. It identifies the fault-lines of today's world politics and assesses the effectiveness of traditional approaches to armed force, international organisations and international law.

It combines a comprehensive survey of the challenges facing the international community - from terrorism and nuclear proliferation to climate change, pandemics, population and energy pressures - with a set of recommendations to guide Australian foreign policy under a policy framework of selective global activism.

World Wide Webs: Diasporas and the International System, February 2008
Dr Michael Fullilove

On 18 February, the Lowy Institute launched Michael Fullilove's new Lowy Institute Paper, World wide webs: Diasporas and the international system. In this paper, Michael argues that diasporas (communities which live outside, but retain their connections with, their homelands) are getting larger, thicker and stronger – with important implications for global economics, identity, politics and security. Michael compares diasporas to 'world wide webs' emanating from states, with dense, interlocking, often electronic strands spanning the globe and binding different individuals, institutions and countries together. World wide webs offers a fresh take on globalisation which raises difficult questions for national governments, including the Australian government.

The End of the Vasco da Gama Era, December 2007
Coral Bell

Australia's renowned international security scholars, Dr Coral Bell AO, sketches the probable future landscape of the society of states as it emerges from the twilight of US paramountcy. Dr Bell argues that the world is in transition to a multipolar balance of six great powers: the United States, the European Union, China, India, Russia and Japan. She analyses their respective interests and ambitions, and offers some observations on the options for Canberra presented by the end of the 'Vasco da Gama era' of Western ascendancy over Asia.

Enmeshed: Australia and Southeast Asia's Fisheries, November 2007
Dr Meryl Williams

Southeast Asia's oceans are fast running out of fish, putting the livelihoods of up to 100 million people at risk, leading to more illegal incursions into Australia's northern fisheries and putting the future of shared stocks between Australia and Southeast Asia at grave risk. A new Lowy Institute Paper entitled 'Enmeshed: Australia and Southeast Asia's Fisheries' by Dr Meryl J. Williams looks at the sources of this depletion and what can be done regionally to address it before it becomes too late.

Media in Australia and Southeast Asia have responded to Meryl's paper with the original Reuters story being picked up in the Philippines and Thailand (and Pakistan) while Singapore's Straits Times also ran a story on the paper.

Australia and Indonesia: Current Problems, Future Prospects, September 2007
Professor Jamie Mackie

Since the fall of President Suharto in 1998, Australia-Indonesia relations have been quite volatile with the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia being withdrawn briefly in 2006, the first time this has ever happened. Indonesia’s democratisation has brought the two neighbours’ political systems more in line with each other. Yet, this has not led to quieter times. Rather, suspicions in Indonesia over Australia's interests towards the provinces of Papua have deepened along with Australian worries about religious developments in Indonesia.

In his new Lowy Institute Paper, Professor Jamie Mackie, a very experienced Indonesia analyst who has researched the bilateral relationship for over five decades, evaluates the sources of this volatility and ways the two governments can counteract them and the potential problems if things stay as they are.

Second Thoughts on Globalisation, June 2007
Mark Thirlwell

For more than two decades, policymakers in much of the world have pursued pro-globalisation polices. The result has been a wealthier and more dynamic global economy. Yet today, significant parts of the developed world are having second thoughts about the benefits of globalisation, with many of the doubts prompted by the globalisation-powered rise of China and India. As policymakers and businesses across the rich countries grapple with the consequences of the economic re-emergence of the two Asian giants, this latest Lowy Paper from Mark Thirlwell analyses the growing pressures on governments to temper the forces driving globalisation.

Howard's Decade: an Australian Foreign Policy Reappraisal, December 2006
Paul Kelly

In Lowy Institute Paper 15, entitled 'Howard's Decade: an Australian Foreign Policy Reappraisal', Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large of The Australian, evaluates John Howard's foreign policy, dealing with his attitudes towards the US, Asia, the use of military power and his strategic approach to Australia's role in the world.

Beyond the Defence of Australia: Finding a New Balance in Australian Strategic Policy, December 2006
Professor Hugh White

In Lowy Institute Paper 16, entitled 'Beyond the Defence of Australia: Finding a New Balance in Australian Strategic Policy', Visiting Fellow Professor Hugh White examines the long-term strategic trends facing Australia, and how we can reconcile their conflicting demands.

Mindanao: A Gamble Worth Taking, November 2006
Dr Kit Collier , Dr Malcolm Cook

The immersion of foreign terrorists in the long-running Moro Islamic insurgency in the southern Philippines turned the Philippines into a front line in the regional war on terror. The direct links between terrorist safe havens in Mindanao and the Bali bombings of 2002 and 2005 brought this traumatically home to Australia. The decade-old peace process between the Philippine government and the largest insurgent group, the MILF, offers the best chance of permanently ending the insurgency and its links to regional terrorism.

A new Lowy Institute Paper by Dr Malcolm Cook and Dr Kit Collier analyses the prospects for peace in Mindanao and the threats facing the peace process. It also offers a number of policy recommendations for the involved foreign governments to better the odds that a sustainable peace deal can be struck and implemented.

Quiet Boom: How the Long Economic Upswing is Changing Australia and its Place in the World, November 2006
Dr John Edwards

After fifteen years of uninterrupted growth, Australia's quiet economic boom shows no signs of ending. The longest expansion in Australian history, it has seen wealth more than double, average income increase by half as much again, and unemployment tumble to a rate last experienced more than quarter of a century ago. A new Lowy Institute Paper by Dr John Edwards, chief economist for HSBC Bank for Australia and New Zealand, takes a close look at this long upswing.

The Paper asks where this quiet boom came from, what its characteristics are, how enduring it may prove to be, how it is changing Australia and Australia's place in the world, what it means for Australians and Australia's place in the world economy, and where it is now headed.

Pitfalls of Papua: Understanding the Conflict and its Place in Australia-Indonesia Relations, October 2006
Rodd McGibbont

In the latest Lowy Institute Paper entitled Pitfalls of Papua: understanding the conflict and its place in Australia-Indonesia relations, Dr Rodd McGibbon calls on the Australian government to engage more actively in the public debate in Australia over the Papua conflict. This debate so far has been dominated by local supporters of West Papuan self-determination who seriously undersell the importance for Australian security interests of strong, stable relations with Indonesia.

By carefully examining the history of Papua's incomplete integration into Indonesia and its role in Australia-Indonesia relations, this Paper critically evaluates the claims of the West Papua constituency in Australia and provides new ways to support the development of Papua and of stronger Australia-Indonesia relations.

Heating up the Planet: Climate Change and Security, June 2006
Dr Alan Dupont

In a pathbreaking collaborative work entitled 'Heating up the Planet: Climate Change and Security', Dr. Alan Dupont of the Lowy Institute and Dr. Graeme Pearman, the former chief of atmospheric research at the CSIRO, canvass the international security consequences of climate change especially for Australia's Asia-Pacific neighbourhood. The Lowy Paper examines the implications of temperature increases and sea level rise for food, water, energy, infectious diseases, natural disasters and environmental refugees and asks whether scientists may have underestimated climate change risks. The paper also looks at several low probability, but high impact climate events which might push the planet past an environmental tipping point from which there will be no winners.

The Paramount Power: China and the Countries of Southeast Asia, May 2006
Dr Milton Osborne

In a new Lowy Institute Paper entitled The Paramount Power: China and the Countries of Southeast Asia, Dr Milton Osborne examines how China's relations with Southeast Asia have dramatically changed for the better in the last ten years. FTAs and strategic partnerships have replaced decades of mistrust and uncertainty. China is now the paramount power in Southeast Asia with significant soft power resources and regional goodwill. China's new role poses new challenges for Japan and the United States in the region and globally.

Dr Osborne is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute and one of Australia's leading experts on Southeast Asian history.

Shared secrets: intelligence and collective security, March 2006
Dr Simon Chesterman

In a new Lowy Institute Paper, Dr Simon Chesterman of New York University writes on the relationship between intelligence and collective security. Is collective security possible when the evaluation of and response to threats depend on access to intelligence that cannot be shared openly? Shared Secrets: Intelligence and Collective Security examines the role national intelligence does and could play in addressing threats to international peace and security, with particular reference to the contemporary threats of terrorism and proliferation of WMD.

Chesterman argues it is neither feasible nor desirable for the United Nations or other international organisations to develop an independent capacity to collect secret intelligence; however, they should be able to receive, access and use sensitive information.

Re-imagining Papua New Guinea (PNG): Culture, Democracy and Australia' Role, December 2005
Ben Scott

Australia has, perhaps, no closer or more complicated a bilateral relationship than that with Papua New Guinea. Australia is deeply entwined with its nearest neighbour and has a major stake in its future. Drawing on the success of Bougainville, Ben Scott in this Lowy Institute Paper calls for a new political system in Papua New Guinea and a new focus for Australian engagement.

Permanent Friends? Historical Reflections on the Australian-American Alliance, December 2005
Dr Peter Edwards AM

How has the Australian-American alliance survived for more than fifty years? How can Australian governments ensure that it retains public support for another fifty years?

Drawing on decades of research and writing on the alliance, this Lowy Institute Paper by Dr Peter Edwards seeks to answer these questions in the context of a century of Australian-American relations.

The New Terms of Trade, 2005
Mark Thirlwell

The landscape of the international trading environment is changing. Progress in the Doha Round remains painfully difficult, a powerful symbol of the mounting stresses and strains on the multilateral trading system. Meanwhile, policymakers, frustrated with multilateralism's shortcomings, continue to turn to bilateral and regional trade deals, producing an ever-expanding web of preferential trade arrangements. This is all against a backdrop of major shifts in the structure and composition of trade flows, as the manufacturing might of China and India's services-based export model are together contributing to a fundamental reshaping of the worldwide pattern of trade.

A new Lowy Institute Paper by Mark Thirlwell looks at this transformation in the international context for trade and trade policy.

Balancing Act: Taiwan's Cross-strait Challenge, 2005
Dr Malcolm Cook Dr Craig Meer

In the last decade, Taiwan's society has changed rapidly in ways that are challenging the cross-strait status quo. Reunification with China is no longer an attractive political proposition, while Taiwan's vibrant democracy is organised around the question of how to promote Taiwan's autonomous identity and maintain good relations with its external supporters and tolerable relations with China.

China is growing increasingly worried that Taiwan is 'drifting away' from China's goal of peaceful reunification, leading China to put more pressure on countries to actively reaffirm their One China policies. Supporters of the cross-strait status quo, like Australia, now need to think how to incorporate Taiwan's social and political change into their cross-strait deliberations or risk being caught by surprise when cross-strait relations take a turn for the worse.

Joining the Caravan? The Middle East, Islamism and Indonesia, 2005
Anthony Bubalo

September 11 2001 and the Bali Bombing in November 2002 evoked images of a militant Islamist wave sweeping the globe from the Middle East, radicalising once peaceful Muslim communities around the world. A new Lowy Institute Paper by Anthony Bubalo and Greg Fealy critically examines the truth of this perception by exploring the impact a number of Islamist and 'neo-fundamentalist' currents from the Middle East have had in Indonesia.

Diaspora: the World Wide Web of Australians, 2004
Dr Chloë Flutter Dr Michael Fullilove

In this Lowy Institute Paper, Dr Michael Fullilove and Dr Chloë Flutter argue that the community of Australian expatriates is a great asset for this country.

They examine the Australian diaspora from the perspectives of demographics, economics and public opinion, and provide some suggestions as to how Australian institutions can better engage expatriates in our national endeavours.

Unsheathing the Samurai Sword: Japan's Changing Security Policy, 2004
Dr Alan Dupont

This Lowy Institute Paper by Senior Fellow for International Security, Dr Alan Dupont, argues that Japan is moving away from its pacifist past towards a more hardheaded and outward looking security posture characterised by a greater willingness to use the Self Defense Force in support of its foreign policy and defence interests.

This shift is evolutionary, not revolutionary, but it is gaining momentum and represents a defining watershed in Japan's postwar security policy which will require some new thinking in Canberra as well as Tokyo.

River at Risk: the Mekong and the Water Politics of China and Southeast Asia, 2004
Dr Milton Osborne

The Lowy Institute Paper by Dr Milton Osborne critically analyses one of Southeast Asia's gravest social and environmental challenges, the damming and dredging of the Mekong River system.

This Paper delves into the conflict in the Mekong between countries' desire for hydroelectric power to satisfy soaring demand and the Mekong's fragile ecosystem and role as a primary food source. Over 70 million people depend directly on the river for their livelihood. Effective regional governance of the Mekong is needed but is not forthcoming.

India: the Next Economic Giant, 2004
Mark Thirlwell

This Lowy Institute Paper by Mark Thirlwell assesses the emergence of India as a major new player in today's global economy.

It provides an overview of India's sustained progress with economic reform to date, examines the degree of the economy's re-engagement with the rest of the world, and describes some of the challenges that still lie ahead.

The Paper also analyses the implications of the rise of this new economic giant for the international economy and for Australia.

India: the Next Economic Giant was officially launched by the Minister for Trade, the Hon. Mark Vaile, MP, in Sydney on Friday 13 August.



Source: Lowy Institute